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“My Child Never Listens To Me”- It Takes Two 

“My Child Never Listens To Me”- It Takes Two 
Do you ever find saying out loud or thinking “My child isn’t respecting me and they need to listen to me” or “When I was a child I wouldn’t get away with talking to my parent the way my child talks to me”.
As adults we feel that we are the ones in charge so my child needs to listen to me with no questions asked.  If I tell them once to “Stop” they should the first time not the 10th time as I’m yelling.  Why do we feel that when we tell a child to do something that they will listen because we are the adult and they are the child?  I was raised to always ask questions and I’m pretty sure I’ve pissed off my parents when they tell me something they think I should do and I do something else, which is a majority of the time.  In fact the exact words I hear are  “You don’t listen to me anyways so why are you asking me for my opinion”.  This pretty much sums me up my adult life so you can only imagine how I was as a child.
There are many reasons why some children do not listen to their parents and it could be the simple reason of the approach you are taking with your child.  Every one needs to feel heard and that is even at a young age.  Who wants to be told what to do all the time?  Here are some strategies to help your relationship so your child starts to listen to you on the first time and you have more positive interactions.
Strategies For Listening 
One way to help your child listen is to give them choices so they feel they have some control in the situation.  Do you want to play for 5 or 8 minutes on your ipad? Even when you will give them ten minutes.  For dinner do you want to sit in green chair or the red chair?  If you are doing your bedtime routine does it really matter if they brush their teeth before they put on their pj’s?   Think about what you are expecting and asking of the child and if you are being too rigid.  This can affect how the child reacts to you since they want some indpendence in making decisions and this gives them a sense of responability.
The Relationship: It Takes Two
For me I come from a relantionship based approach and I have found when you spend time working on the relantionship the power struggle starts to decrease. Just like adult relatinships.  Parents need to understand it is about the quality time that matters the most versus the quantity.  If you are at the park with your child are you checking your phone? Or are you playing with them on the playground?   I tell parents to spend 10 minutes a day following their child’s lead with play without asking any direct questions. The parent’s role at that moment is going into the child’s world.  Most parents tell me they do this daily but what helps is labeling the time “Special Time”.  You will find the more you tell your child you are spending “Special Time” with them you will see an increase with the child listening to you.  Children will sometimes act out to get your attention and you want change that dynamics quickly if you find you are always yelling at your child to do what you asked them to do.
Simple Solution: Just Ask Them
When you know you might be going into a battle with your child over something small set it up where you ask the child upfront if they will fight you when you ask them to do something.  They will tell you if they are planning on having a fit or not since children are just that honest.  Whatever answer they give you can set it up the situation so the child won’t be as explosive.  If they tell you they might argue you can at that point give them more transition time or ask them what their body needs and lastly, give them choices at that time so they feel they have some control with the choices you are giving them.  In addition, pay attention to your body language and tone of voice.  The way you approach a child can help increase or decrease the amount of listening they will do at that moment.
Adult: “Want A or B?”  Child: “No, I want C
Every parent or caregiver gets this reaction when offering choices.  If you are offering 2 choices I wouldn’t budge on the 3rd choice that the child is requesting.  This in one way the child is controlling the situation and taking over the control of the parents.  In this situation I would tell the child that the 3rd choice I would help them make if they don’t pick A or B.  If you feel I’m being too rigid I ask that you give your child option C and see what happens right after they get what they want.  Are they starting to listen to you more or less?  Are the choices no longer working since it is easier to give in to what they want versus a battle over something so small such as putting on their shoes to get out the door in the morning, which to us is a small thing but to the child they feel like it is the end of the world.
Hope these tips help and if you need support in the home you can contact Vanessa Kahlon at KahlonFamilyServices@gmail.com

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